The South Carolina Junior Golf Association’s Fall Challenge was played for the boys at Cheraw State Park and The Links at Stoney Point hosted the girls version of the championship.
Andrew Gregory broke out of tie for the first round lead with a 6-under par 66 to win the boys SCJGA Fall Challenge at Cheraw.
Many of the girls playing at Stoney Point had just finished their high school championships.
The leader board looked like a composite of the top girls who competed at all four levels in the recently concluded high school championships.
Olivia Roberts, a week before had won the South Carolina High School AA Individual championship and helped her Chesnee team to the state title for a second year in a row, was in contention for her first SCJGA title.
Roberts trailed Claire Greene from Okati by a shot after the first round.
In the second round, Roberts played an even par front nine with no birdies or no bogeys to take the lead.
“I knew I needed to grind today,” said Roberts. “I knew pars would get it done, I tried to get a few birdies in and really limit the bogeys,” she said.
Greene struggled form the start with a double bogey on the first hole to fall off the pace.
Roberts went on to finish with a two-day total of 147 and a three shot victory.
“It feels really good to get my first SCJGA win, and this gives me a lot of confidence going into the Players Championship,” Roberts said about the next big event on the SCJGA schedule.
The boys champion Andrew Gregory also has his sites set on the Players starting on November 12th at Hartsville,
Gregory’s reason is simple, now with his win at the Fall Challenge he has a path to the SCJGA Heritage Foundation Boys Player of the Year award.
The victory at Cheraw came when Gregory was able to break out of a first round tie with Luke Walmet from Mount Pleasant.
“I made a lot of putts and a lot of them were easy today,” said Gregory who helped his Boiling Springs High School team to the South Carolina AAAAA championship last spring.
Gregory bogeyed his second hole, but after that it was all pars and birdies.
He shot 34-32 for his final round 6-under par 66 and what turned out to be an 8-shot win.
“I was hitting good shots into the green, but a lot of them ended up closer than I expected and I was able to take advantage and make birdies,” he said.
Jay Smith from Florence, who topped Gregory at the recent Transou Junior in Gaffney, was among four golfers who finished tied for second.
Smith, who won the Grant Bennett Junior during the past summer, is in third place in the Player of the Year race, just a couple of decimal points behind Gregory.
Both golfers are chasing Mason Kucia from Indian Land, who currently has the top spot in the rankings.
While some golfers have trouble admitting they would like to win a season long award like the Player of the Year, Gregory has had being the top player in South Carolina as his long time goal.
“It has been my goal this year to win the Player of the Year. I’ve had a good year and I needed this win and need to play well next in Hartsville to hopefully have a chance,” he said.
In the last three events, Gregory has finished in front of Kucia at the Bobby Chapman and the Transou and now the Fall Challenge.
“I was trying to redeem myself for the last couple of tournaments when I didn’t play as well as I wanted, and I got it done today. Now I need to have another good week at The Players,” said Gregory.
Final scores from the Girls Fall Challenge played at The Links at Stoney Point https://scjga.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/scjga22/event/scjga2223/contest/5/leaderboard.htm
Final scores from the Boys Fall Challenge played at Cheraw State Park https://scjga.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/scjga22/event/scjga2222/contest/1/leaderboard.htm